The Heads of the Valleys Development Company (HOTVDC) has announced that the Circuit of Wales development has been approved by the Welsh government. The company has confirmed that its ‘S16 application’ has been accepted, clearing the final planning hurdle for the site.
The circuit had signed a five-year contract with Dorna Sports, the promoter of MotoGP to host the championship from 2015 onward. Due to the circuit only just gaining approval, the British MotoGP round will remain at Silverstone for a further two years.
The delay has been caused by a public enquiry in to the development, and in particular the land on which the proposed circuit would sit. Deputy Minister for Farming and Food Rebecca Evans commented: “For the reasons articulated in the report – both by the Inspector but also by other parties, I believe the socio-economic benefits that will result from the deregistration of the common land will be of significant public benefit to both the immediate area and beyond.”
With the approval of the S16 application, HOTVDC also revealed that the required financing package is in place to support the project for the full amount, and that exclusivity contracts are in place with the project’s financial backers. Once these have been completed, the company statest that the supporters of the project will be publicly announced and detailed construction timelines revealed.
In addition to the planning approval announcement, HOTVDC also announced the appointment of Martin Whitaker as Circuit of Wales CEO. Whitaker, the former CEO of the Bahrain International Circuit, will be charged with managing the transformation of 830 acres of Blaenau Gwent into an international motorsport circuit, technology park and training facility.
“Martin’s track record speaks for itself as he is one of the few men operating at the top level of international motorsport whose experience covers almost every facet of the sport,” commented Michael Carrick, CEO of HOTVDC. “Martin has managed a modern Formula 1 venue at the Bahrain International Circuit, worked for both the sport’s governing body, the FIA), and its commercial rights holder, plus the UK’s governing body – the RAC Motor Sports Association. Additionally, he has led a major motor manufacturer’s competition department and one of the world’s most celebrated racing series.